Facebook has done tremendous work making Facebook advertising accessible for companies of all sizes.
But the options available to develop variations of ads targeted to millions of combinations of audiences with a handful of different bidding strategies and a dozen or so objective types can get any marketer caught up in what feels like a menu of trial-by-error possibilities.
But with all the resources and tools and information out there about scaling effectively and optimizing performance, it’s scary that some organizations are armed with all the right best practices and yet are doing things (or not doing things) that are seriously prohibiting campaign performance.
There are hundreds of reasons why your Facebook advertising might not be delivering the treats you were expecting.
Don’t trick yourself into thinking that you can’t rebound from poor ad performance. Improve on these six things and you’ll almost certainly bring your strategy back from the dead.
1. You Pull Your Ads Too Quickly
Facebook’s optimization becomes more effective as it gathers data.
As time passes when your ads are live, you’re giving Facebook more opportunity to find patterns in ad performance; it’s starting to better understand what kind of user is more likely to convert. The more it understands this pattern, the more effective it gets in optimizing the delivery of ads.
If you pull the plug after, say, 20 hours because your CPA is too high or you’re not getting enough impressions or your CTR is low, you’re keeping Facebook’s algorithm from gaining traction and being able to get an accurate picture of your campaign performance.
2. You Use Social Ads Only For Acquisition, Not Retention
Technically this approach isn’t negatively impacting your strategy, but it’s a very common mistake that could keep you from really seeing Facebook advertising’s true potential for your marketing efforts.
It’s tempting to ignore. You want more customers or users or leads, more often. Getting in front of new audiences is the way to do that.
However, you’ll likely see a much higher return if you work on nurturing stronger customer relationships with people who have already made purchases, downloaded your app, subscribed, filled out lead forms, etc. to make them more valuable.
This is even more true if you work on building continued loyalty with your high lifetime value customers.
You don’t have to choose between doing one or the other (depending on your budget of course), but you should do both.
3. You Strike an Imbalance Between Budget Audience and Target Audience
If your audience is too small (specific to the ads you’re running) and you’re trying to spend a large amount of money getting your message in front of them, impressions will slow tremendously as Facebook tries to keep your offer from oversaturating the news feed.
On the flip side, if you’re working with a huge, ill-defined target audience (more than 2 million or so) but only have $500 to spend, you’re not going to get very far. Remember that you’re competing for your ads to be seen against other advertisers who have larger budgets and are therefore able to pay more to get in front of the same folks you’re going after.
4. You Adhere to a Strict Budget
Our most successful clients are the ones that don’t have a budget.
Okay, technically they have a budget, but when you are absolutely killing it (in a good way) and you’re having a day where conversions are way up, why not throw more money into that success?
Facebook paces your budget to make sure your ads are delivered evenly throughout the day. If you add more budget on a day when you’re happy with your CPA, you could conceivably drive more conversions while maintaining that number. Increase your budget incrementally to see when your cost per acquisition starts to creep into a range you’re not comfortable with.
Related: don’t be too spooked to go above your max CPA in order to be competitive in your bid. Higher max bids generally improve both delivery and ROAS. Bidding low could technically help you reach the low hanging fruit, but is unlikely to back into a higher quality user.
5. You Fail to Rotate Your Ad Creative
I know, I’m a broken record about this.
This is a must-do, particularly if you’re working with a large budget, or particularly when your targeting audience is well-defined.
If ad performance is deteriorating steadily, users are probably getting bored of seeing the same creative and copy over and over. People could share negative feedback with Facebook via the “I don’t want to see this” X button, and, coupled with poor performance, it’s possible your ads could stopped being served altogether.
What happens when you decide to give away glow-in-the-dark bandaids and mini floss kits instead of Butterfingers and Skittles year after year after year? You become “that house” and kids stop ringing your doorbell during trick-or-treating.
Swap out the lowest performing ads with new imagery and copy when you start to see that low conversion rate, low CTRs/high frequency combo, or other metrics that make you choke on your Snickers bar. Building multiple variations of your best performing ads will help overcome ad fatigue with your audiences every time.
6. You Do Not Exclude Audiences
I’m assuming the majority of you are running “clicks to website” or “website conversions” campaigns to drive traffic to your website and generate conversions. Do your prospects a favor and keep your ads from reappearing after they’ve already made that purchase or filled out your lead form.
By way of Custom Audiences, create a pixel that tracks people who visit the purchase confirmation page or thank you page on your site. Then exclude those folks who saw those pages and stop paying to advertise to them. It’s not witchcraft - it’s just good marketing.
Certainly there are more than these six things that could impact how your Facebook advertising performs. What other things have you noticed that negatively affect your campaigns?
Also, this post is full of Halloween-related puns. How many can you find? Include your guess in a comment!